Daniel Brickley was the talk of the town this last week. The 23-year-old college UFA from Minnesota State University went undrafted in the NHL Entry Draft, but has put up big points in the NCAA as a defenseman.
Putting up back-to-back 30+ point seasons (31 points in 31 games in 2016-17 and 35 points in 40 games in 2017-18), Brickley became very popular with NHL teams as his college career wound down. The Wings were reportedly one of three teams that he was considering.
He visited Detroit earlier this week before deciding that he wouldn’t be joining the team. At 22-years-old, the left-handed defenseman was not prepared to play a stint in the AHL. He wants NHL time and, looking at Detroit’s blueline, there isn’t much room to squeeze in another player. Instead, Brickley opted to sign with the Los Angeles Kings.
GRIFFINS SIGN A PAIR OF TREVORS TO ONE YEAR DEALS
Unlike their NHL counterpart, the Grand Rapids Griffins made a splash in the College free agency scene.
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) March 29, 2018
Trevor Yates is a center from Cornell University and put up a career high 26 points in 33 games while serving as the team’s assistant captain this season. According to the press release on griffinshockey.com, he’s also signed up for an amateur tryout and will join the Griffins this week.
Trevor Hamilton, the right-handed defenseman from Penn State University lead all NCAA defensemen in points with 29 in 38 games. He was named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year.
At 23-years-old, both of these players seem like support players on a Griffins team that is fighting for a post-season berth right now. I doubt we’ll see either of them in the NHL, unless there’s a serious breakout. Keep in mind that these contracts were signed with the Griffins, not the Red Wings.
The Wings big splash was supposed to be Daniel Brickley. Missing out on him hurts, but he’s not the first college free agent who opted to go elsewhere. Remember Spencer Foo?
The bottom line is that the Wings are going to have to be a much more competitive team if they want to attract free agent talent. These kids want to go to a team that is ready to win, not one that is struggling to.
It’s just another pain point for a rebuilding franchise.